Question about direction

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by zigg72md, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. zigg72md

    zigg72md New Member

    Allow me to apologize up front for the stupidity of this question.

    I was evaluating one of the layout designs on this forum when it occured to me. Is there a standard direction for layouts. Now I read the NMRA stadards as far as polarity. However I'm asking a more simple question.

    Do trains on an oval run clock-wise, counter-clockwise, or either depending on preference? If its preference then how does one tell which direction a designer has in mind?

    Also if it depends then how about a poll to see which is more popular and why?
  2. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    As far as I know, most if not all layouts run trains in both directions, a major reason for passing sidings. :D Prototype trains run in both directions on the same track. If you are running DC, the throttles all have direction switches on them, and DCC handles it automatically. No such thing as a stupid question on The Gauge. :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  3. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Most layouts. Not quite all. Some bare-minimum-size oval plans are designed so only trains running one way can switch them, because there's no room for a runaround. On anything bigger, trains run both ways.

    On double track, the question is more interesting. Assuming you're modelling a US railroad, trains normally run on the right-hand track, like cars. (On a simple double-track oval, you should expect the outer track to be counterclockwise.) However, on the Chicago & Northwestern or the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range, trains use the left-hand track. This is also true in isolated locations on other railroads, the most famous probably the Santa Fe at Cajon Pass. At that location, the two tracks are separated for much of a long grade. The left-hand track is gentler, so uphill trains use it. (A very similar situation existed between Logan and Bozeman, Montana on the old Great Northern.)

    On triple track, trains on the outer tracks usually follow the right-hand rule. The center track is two-way, like single track.

    On quadruple track, the directions vary depending on the railroad.

    On many modern railroads with two or more tracks, Centralized Traffic Control allows all tracks to be two-way.
  4. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I always imagine that as I face a layout, that must be north so going clockwise is westbound and ant-clockwise is east bound.
  5. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    That's assuming it's an island-style layout with an oval. John Armstrong often assumes that you're facing "north" when looking at the layout, but prefers around-the-walls designs with peninsulas. In that case, "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" are meaningless. (In fact, there are even simpler ways to make them meaningless. Which way is clockwise on a figure-8? :D) It makes things easier if you think of directions from the engineer's point of view.
  6. zigg72md

    zigg72md New Member

    My question was meant to be in the context of evaluating the layout designs in this forum. Some are the smaller layouts and when I look at them I noticed that no one ever says which direction they are running. I was wondering if there was some convention/rule or other way to tell, that I don't know about. I am also want to know for my layout which is an island style double loop(one suspended above the other) around two fig-8. Which makes Triplex comment interesting and thought provoking for me. Thanks for the inputs.
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Do you mean a double-track figure-8? Then follow the double-track rules for the figure-8 and use the ovals as two-way tracks.

    Most layouts, even if they're very small, allow for running in both directions, and you should remember when looking at layouts that they were designed for that.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    At the modular club ( we use right-hand running, which works out to counter-clockwise.

    I don't know if there is a rule for smaller layouts, but trailing sidings are much easier to switch than facing! If you have a turntable or wye, then it doesn't really matter...

  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    How can right-hand running equate to counter-clockwise? Assuming two tracks, "right-hand running" means "clockwise on the inner track, counterclockwise on the outer".
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The double mainline on most modules is connected by a loop at each end.

    Whenever you are going down the track, you are always on the right from your point-of-view (right-hand running). This works out to going to the right ("east" in club terms) on the track closest to the operator, and left ("west") on the track furthest from the operator. Since you are going to the left at the "top" of the circle, it is counter-clockwise.

    Even though we have double-mainline, it really equates to a single tracked loop. We also have sections of single main, and single branchline. This is why we have a dispatcher... :D ;)


    Attached Files:

  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Oh! I thought you had a "doughnut" modular setup, not a "dogbone". My bad.
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Actually, you answered yourself on Post#9:

    Counter-clockwise on the outer is part of your definition of right-hand running. From the engineer's point of view you are on the right hand track as you look/move forward.

  13. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I meant, "how can right-hand running equate exclusively to counterclockwise?" I was thinking in terms of an oval, because that's what zigg72md has.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Yeah, it took me a while to figure out how right hand running could be clockwise... given my experience with the modular club. It seems now we have made it to the same page! :D :D

    Maybe we should stick to talking about right-hand vs left-hand running. But what about a single (wide open) loop. Then it comes up, and the discussion about trailing vs facing switches (or is it points...) Now I am all confused... :D ;) :confused:

  15. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    On single track, trailing-point and facing-point are ephemeral terms. They only matter from the perspective of a given train. A switch that is trailing-point for eastbounds will be facing-point for westbounds.
  16. zigg72md

    zigg72md New Member

    Triplex(and others)...

    No I dont have a double track fig 8... My layout is 4x16 with a fig 8 on each 4x8 and two ovals around the whole thing(one oval above the other). This way I have an elevated passenger loop and a grade freight loop in the same space. I use the two fig 8's to connect the two. The one fig 8 connects the lower loop to the upper and the other fig 8 connects the upper to the lower loop with out having to back a train down the first fig 8. Eventually I plan a switchyard/depot on a third 4x8. The reason I picked an island design is because I need to be able to take the layout down and put it up against a wall for those one or two times a year we need the basement for a party or the like.

    Btw with this layout how would I or could I incorperate a turnaround/runaround like you suggest. It really would be cool to do.
  17. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    That's my story and I'm stickin' with it. :D :D :D :D
  18. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    When was I talking about a... oh, back there. A runaround is a siding with spurs at both ends, like a passing track. You might have one already.
    Sorry, I'm not following anymore. Do you have a picture?
  19. zigg72md

    zigg72md New Member

    Got a picture!!!!!
    Again one oval directly on top of the other. There are two sets of turnouts on each fig8 (for a total of 4)that connect the fig8 to the lower and upper oval. This way a train can travel from the lower oval up one fig8 to the upper oval and then down the other fig8 back to the lower level without having to go backwards or change direction.

    Btw I don't have any sidings or spurs yet. My plan is to put a switch yard on another 4x8 at a later date.

    Ok I hope this works:

    The red line is a proposed turnaround that connects to the lower oval. The small blue lines are where I plan to insulate track. The yellow line on the end is for the future switch yard. The turnouts are labled U for connecting to upper oval and L for connecting to lower oval
  20. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    As far as switching a facing point industrial siding why not do like we did when I worked on the railroad and switch that industry on the return trip after all the locals crew needs to return to their home terminal.. :D
    As far as layouts you got to be kidding..Trains should run in both directions just like the prototype.. :thumb: Now let's use the terms railroads use in their time table..East and West..I am yet to see a North bound or South bound NS train on the Sandusky line because even though they are indeed heading North/South NS calls 'em East(south) or West(North) bounds.. :eek:

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